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The Inspiration Issue 2020

The Inspiration Issue 2020

In today's climate, now seems like the perfect time for The Hockey News' first Inspiration Issue. We've unearthed feel-good stories from around the hockey world, plus features on Leon Draisaitl, John Carlson and many more.

BUZZ

ROOKIE SENSATION-O-METER

Which freshmen have delivered the most dominant seasons of the salary-cap era? These rookies hit the ground running like world-class sprinters

BUZZ

THE COUNTDOWN: SHORTENED GREATNESS

PATRICK MARLEAU should have a pretty special career achievement right this minute if not for circumstances completely out of his control. The 40-year-old Pittsburgh Penguins winger – remember, he was acquired from San Jose at the trade deadline – could, should, would be the NHL all-time leader in games played if not for 129 games missed due to two lockouts and a season curtailed by COVID-19. Marleau stands at 1,723 regular-season games, fifth all-time but just 44 behind Gordie Howe’s 40-year-old record of 1,767 games. We’re not sure if Marleau will be back at 41 in 2020-21 to resume his hunt, but it would be a shame if work stoppages, rather than injuries or a stark drop-off in play, were the primary reason why he fell short. We’re using Marleau as a proxy…

Scott Baker

The epitome of resilience

WHEN YOU SEE WHAT HE OVERCAME TO BE THE MAN HE IS TODAY, IT REALLY MAKES YOUR DOWN DAYS SEEM PRETTY INSIGNIFICANT– Kevin Labanc BY ANY MEASURE, 2019-20 has been nothing short of a disaster for Kevin Labanc and the San Jose Sharks. One season after advancing to the Western Conference final, ‘Los Tiburones’ have inexplicably cratered to the bottom of the NHL standings and the reward could be watching the Ottawa Senators pick a player in the top three of the draft with their selection. As for Labanc, after establishing himself as a go-to secondary scorer and a clutch playoff performer last season, he bet on himself and accommodated the Sharks as they tried to emerge from salary-cap hell, taking a one-year deal worth just $1 million, counting on having a…

LEON DRAISAITL

Go West Young Man

NOTHING WILL GET YOU in the good books of Edmonton Oilers fans faster than going after someone from the Calgary Flames. Leon Draisaitl certainly gave the fans what they wanted prior to the NHL All-Star Game when he proclaimed he didn’t even want to be on the ice at the same time as Matthew Tkachuk, even though both were on the Pacific Division team. Tkachuk, of course, had a running feud going with Oilers heavy Zack Kassian, who caught a two-game suspension for attacking Tkachuk after the Flames agitator had taken several runs at him. In the early going, it seemed as though Draisaitl would get his wish, as his 3-on-3 all-star linemates were Connor McDavid and relatively nicer Flames star Mark Giordano, while Tkachuk played with Vancouver’s Elias Pettersson and…